Friday, February 20, 2009

Walking foot

Yesterday Mrs. Ochiai came out and she picked up my walking foot and the little quilt arm that I'd ordered. Next to figure out how to use them.

Not too difficult. Thanks to the warnings from fellow bloggers about how to put a walking foot onto the machine we were able to attach it with very few problems. Made a trial run on some scraps and we were very happy with the results. Mrs. Ochiai bought a walking foot too so she was going home to try it on her machine also.

In the late afternoon I actually put my 365 Challenge into the sewing machine and started quilting! Lots of questions though that I hope someone can answer for me.

Last week my friends helped me saftey pin base my 365 Challenge but we weren't at all sure how far apart the pins should have been. I know more is better but we just sort of hodge-podged. How far apart are pins supposed to be placed for machine quilting? Will a walking foot hold a quilt securely without pins every two inches or so?

When hand quilting you start from the center and work out. How about with a quilting foot? I couldn't figure out if I was supposed to start at one edge of the quilt (in the center or at the side?) and then just quilt all the way across, or if I was supposed to start in the middle, sew to the edge, turn the quilt around and do the other side the same way.

I can see that the quilting foot is going to make straight and continuous lines very easy to sew. How about starts and stops? All my 365 Challenge strips will be easy to quilt up and down. I had thought that I would want to quilt in the ditch between the days too, ie. horizontal lines. But I can't figure out how I'm going to do that. The lines aren't continuous. Am I going to have stop at the beginning and end of each block? They don't even match up across so if I zip through the small vertical borders I'll end up with zig-zags. If I try to stay within a block I'll have to turn the quilt 45 degrees and restitch. But I don't think it is possible to turn this quilt in my small working space. Shall I just forget about the horizontal lines?

Another question. My friend who does some machine quilting sews in all the threads by hand at the beginning of the stitching and at the end. She "buries" the threads. My sewing machine has an automatic thread cutter. Should I just use that or am I really supposed to bury all those startings and endings?

Any advice on walking foot usage would be appreciated!


Caron said...

If I were you, I wouldn't use the thread cutter on your machine. There are two choices: One is to bury the threads. That's a traditional way of ending your quilting threads. The second is a little easier. Before you stop,take a couple of really close, tiny stitches to "lock" the stitching in place. Then cut the threads close to the fabric. Use a small drop of FreyChek - and I do mean the tiniest of drops - on the place where you cut your thread. Give it a minute to dry, then keep going.

Kathy Wagner said...

Pins...i run my hand around the top and if I don't touch a pin, I don't have enough (so, every 5-6"?).
I start quilting in the centre and stitch out to every side. Make sure the pressure of your foot is as loose as it can be.
I start with 2 or 3 stitches on the same spot, then a few very tiny stitches and then go to a regular stitch length. If it is a special quilt, I tie the thread ends and hand stitch them in.
Maybe you could hand quilt the horizontal seams and machine quilt the vertical seams??
It looks great...I wish I would work on finishing mine!!

Karen said...

I don't machine quilt much, but when I do, I always use the walking foot. I recently purchased the little quilt arm you attach to the walking foot to make evenly spaced rows. I have yet to try it. You still need to put in lots of pins and you quilt the same as hand quilting. From the center out. I bury all my starting and ending threads, by hand, with thread and needle. I think it looks better, but doing the small stitches at the start and end is faster and doesn't look too bad.

mariel said...

When I first start I take one stitch and bring up my needle and pull the bobbin thread up to the top. Then I put the needle down in the spot where the bobbin thread came through and take 2 or 3 tiny stitches and then adjust my stitch length and start sewing. This will keep knots and birdnests from forming on the back of your quilt.
I start quilting in the middle of the quilt and work my way to the edges.
To finish a line of quilting I usually take 3 or 4 tiny stitches and if I'm by the edge I will just stitch off the quilt when stippling.

Amanda said...

I'm still pretty inexperienced myself, but here's my thoughts. You need pins every 4" or so. I've tried starting at the edges and starting in the middle, and as long as you have pinned it carefully enough it doesn't seem to make much difference - I've seen both advocated by experts. If it's a small or special quilt I sew the threads in; if it's going to be washed a lot but isn't that special I tie knots by hand in the threads and then cut them to about a quarter-inch; if I'm feeling really lazy I'll use the lock stitch button and then cut the threads. Stopping and starting is a pain, so why not just quilt straight across your blocks? There's no reason why you shouldn't - it might not look perfect, but it will be done and probably will look fine.

Shasta said...

Wow a lot of good questions - and I'm sure you will get a lot of varying opinions. I usually pin about a fist apart from each other. The more the better. I try to plan them to be where I am not going to quilt, but I generally take the pins out as I quilt so I don't have a lot to do at the end.
I do start in the middle and work my way out, but don't worry too much if I can't do that, especially when I am at the shorter seams. Also be sure to vary the directions - so if you went from top to bottom on the center seam, go from bottom to top on the next seam. The walking foot does help, but it will not completely avoid pulling.
The horizontal lines, you can do lots of stops and starts to do them. You can leave lots of thread and sew them in, but I generally make shorter stitches at the beginning and end to secure it, and then cut them off. Depends on if you want show quality quilt.

Melinda said...

Part of the decision making depends on what type of backing you are using. If it is a busy backing, I do the 3-4 little stiches method. If not, or if it is a special quilt that I am custom quilting, I bury the threads. A self-threading needle is helpful when doing this.

QuiltingFitzy said...

If you're mostly stitching in the ditch, you'd be fine to start in the middle and web out from there.

If you have long runs of straight, side-by-side lines, you'll need to keep the stitching going the same direction. For example, you'd start at the top and stitch to the bottom for the first row...then begin at the top again. Don't make a return trip back thinking you're saving time, you'll end up with bias puckers.

I'm more likely to pull up my bobbin thread on the first stitch and tie a small knot with the loose ends later. After I pull my bobbin thread up, I set the stitch length on zero and take two stitches, then set your normal stitch length and you're off to the races!

Good luck.

BethanyQuilt said...

I get impatient with setting my stitch length longer and then shorter to lock, so here's a solution if your machine will do it: go to your zigzag stitch and set the zigzag to 0 (making it essentially a straight stitch) and the stitch length to about .5 (very close togther). My machine will keep this setting until I turn it off or clear it so I can toggle back and forth between my locking stitch (what was the zigzag stitch) and my running stitch (my usual straight stitch) while I am working. See if yours will do the same (some machines will not "hold" the change). Good luck!

meggie said...

Wow, a lot of good advice here Tanya! I hope you have luck. My tips are on your more recent post.
Good luck.